Tag Archives: travel

Travel Today — Mystic, CT

Mystic, Connecticut is the perfect spot for an overnight or a weekend getaway — it’s great any time of the year, but keep in mind that many of the attractions are outdoors. There are beautiful water views, family-friendly activities and attractions, romantic restaurants, and great coffee shops. There is truly something for everyone!

Where to Stay

Mystic Marriott

  • Early morning coffee at Starbucks right down in the lobby.
  • Breakfast and dinner at Octagon Steakhouse
  • A glass of red at the lobby bar (you can also enjoy apps from the All Day menu)

Highlights: Family-friendly accommodations/dining, Indoor Pool, Full-Service Spa, Updated rooms, lobby, and ballroom (to be completed this fall), small lobby market with toiletries, snacks/drinks, and souvenirs. This hotel is in a great location — it’s a short drive from everything you will want to see in Mystic!

Another great option: The Whaler’s Inn (located right in downtown Mystic).

Favorite Spots

Olde Mistick Village is across the street from the Mystic Aquarium so it’s a great place to go just before or just after visiting — you can re-enter the aquarium so you can always take a break mid-day, as well. This shopping center has lots of small, local shops, and restaurants, including Vault Coffee Roasters.

Vault Coffee Roasters is a cute coffee shop, that also serves delicious Deviant Donuts (Friday-Sunday). They offer classic flavors (we tried the Strawberry Chocolate Frosted), and then a variety of specially donuts. Go early so you can have your pick — they run out quickly!

Mystic Aquarium is a great aquarium that has both indoor and outdoor exhibits including: beluga whales, penguins, seals, sea lions, and smaller exhibits — they have hands-on exhibits, as well. We also loved the dinosaur exhibit (luckily it’s still running — it was supposed to end last winter!) I recommend buying your tickets on the app/computer ahead of time to avoid the long lines — this will save you a lot of time. No matter what you decide to do while you’re in Mystic I would definitely recommend a morning or afternoon at the aquarium!

Octagon Steakhouse at the Mystic Marriott has a good wine list, and delicious food. My go-to dish is the Statler chicken, but there are other great options, including a kid’s menu. At first glance this restaurant doesn’t look kid-friendly, but we all enjoyed our breakfast and our dinner, and they even have kids cups!

Downtown Mystic is one of my favorite areas of Mystic. It has the Mystic Draw Bridge (Mystic River Bascule Bridge), lots of local stores, restaurants, coffee shops,  Mystic Draw Bridge Ice Cream, and a great local book store.

You should definitely visit Mystic Pizza when you’re in Downtown Mystic! You can get pizzas by the slice so even if you’re heading out for the afternoon, you can grab a slice and head to your next destination! The pizza is good, and the staff is friendly. It’s just disappointing that you won’t get to hang with Julia Roberts!

Bank Square Books is one of my favorite bookstores. They have a great children’s section, and an entire wall of journals! You have to stop by when you are in downtown Mystic!

S&P Oyster Restaurant and Bar — just check out the view!

Some other attractions include: Mystic Seaport Museum and Mystic Museum of Art

Mystic is definitely one of our go-to spots in New England — it’s under 2 hours from Boston, and just about 2.5 hours from New York City. It’s perfect for a romantic overnight, or a getaway with friends and family, and it has all you’d want in a charming New England town.

Travel Today — Nashville, TN

Do you love country music (or just music in general?) Do you love the Bobby Bones show? Do you love southern food, Nashville Hot Chicken, and pancakes? Do you love live music, museums, and cowboy boots? Are you interested in history and beautiful hotels? If you answered yes to at least some of these questions than you should consider Nashville for your next getaway!

Where to Stay

Hyatt Place Downtown Nashville 

  • Breakfast served right downstairs
  • 24/7 Gallery and Gallery Market for a quick bite right in the lobby — serving bar bites, shareable apps, grab-and-go items
  • A lobby bar to grab coffee — starting at 6:00am, and wine, cocktails, and beer until midnight! Perfect for early morning, or when you’re getting back from a show at The Ryman.

Highlights: family and pet-friendly hotel, onsite breakfast, 24/7 dining options, live music in the lobby (check with the hotel for schedule), onsite gym, and an indoor pool — also this hotel is walking distance to amazing restaurants and attractions.

Union Station

  • This beautiful hotel was originally built in 1900 — it was Nashville’s major local train station, and nearly 100 years later it was converted into a luxury hotel. Some of the historical features can still be seen at the hotel — take a tour of the hotel to learn more about the history and the architecture (Wednesday/Friday — 4:45pm, and Saturday — 2:00pm). I love trains and train stations — and of course I love hotels, so I make it a point to visit Union Station when I’m in the area. Even if you plan on staying elsewhere I would stop in for a meal!

Highlights: Onsite restaurant (Carter’s) — opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner, fitness center, live music in the lobby, family and pet-friendly option, gift shop, and proximity to area attractions.

Loews Vanderbilt Hotel

Highlights: family and pet-friendly option, fitness center, gift shop, proximity to Broadway and other area attractions

You cannot go wrong with any of these options. They are all close to Broadway, and to everything that downtown Nashville has to offer. There are plenty of hotel options in Nashville, these are just a few of my favorites.

Other hotel options: The Hermitage Hotel, The Omni Nashville

Favorite Spots

Pancake Pantry is an absolute must-visit for anyone who loves pancakes and breakfast as much as we do. The chocolate pancakes were some of the best I ever had, and at the time I was drinking decaf coffee and this is one of the only places that refilled my decaf!  If you’re visiting Nashville please add this to your itinerary now. This restaurant tends to have a long wait (even in the pouring rain) — head over there as early as you can (they open at 6:00am).

Husk Nashville has delicious Southern food — opened for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. The building is beautiful, too. I recommend making a reservation.

The Southern is such a great restaurant that we ate here multiple times during our trip!

Hattie B’s is a great spot for Nashville Hot Chicken. I don’t like spicy food, but the spice was tolerable – the sides were absolutely delicious! This is another restaurant with a long wait — get there early!

The RymanThe Mother Church of Country Music is an amazing place to see a show. Try and catch one of their Opry at the Ryman shows — starting in November (running through the Winter). The lineup is confirmed closer to the show date, and the posters are made at the Hatch Show Print — it’s the perfect souvenir. Also, take the tour of The Ryman — it’s worth it!

Bridgestone Arena is a great venue to see a show.  During a Bobby Bones interview, Dierks Bentley shared how important this place is to him — since then it has been high on my list of places to see a show!

Country Music Hall of Fame is not a tourist trap. It’s worth a visit! I would also do the RCA Studio B Tour, as well as a tour of Hatch Show Print. I don’t want to give anything away regarding the Studio B tour, but trust me — it’s a memorable way to spend a few hours. When you take the Hatch Show Print tour each member of your group will get to make their own poster to bring home.

The Gulch Neighborhood is a cute little area just outside of downtown Nashville — there are lots of restaurants and shops, including Two Old Hippies and Lucchese’s.

Breakfast at either Loveless Cafe or Biscuit Love (or both!)

Catch a Predators or Titans game

Some other attractions include: The Johnny Cash Museum, Grand Ole Opry, Honky Tonks on Broadway — including Robert’s Western World, The Stage, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, etc., The Blue Bird Cafe, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, The ParthenonAndrew Jackson’s Hermitage, etc.

Nashville is ideal for families, couples, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and of course, for fans of country music. It’s perfect for a long weekend, or for a longer vacation, and it’s a city you will want to visit time and time again. There is so much to do in Nashville you will need to visit multiple times to do it all! Don’t forget to check the concert schedules before your trip (or maybe plan a trip around a show). 

What are some of your favorite spots to visit in Nashville?

Water Towers

My dad had a fascination with water towers. He loved seeing them in the distance as we drove into small towns, he loved taking photographs of water towers, and he hoped to publish a book or calendar with his photos. He felt like they were symbolic of something, but I don’t remember what that was, I just know he found them to be comforting, and he often would drive to towns just to see them. Me and my mom would always point them out on our drives, and then we would pull over so he could take his photos. The best one is probably the Mickey Ears from Walt Disney World. My dad passed away 7 years ago and he didn’t get to publish his book of water towers, and at this moment I do not know where most of these photographs are, but I think of my dad whenever I see a tall tower in the distance.

During a road trip, when I was a child, we were talking about our passion for writing, travel, and small towns. I mentioned wanting to write a travel book one day… the term “one day” and “someday” have always been a big part of my vocabulary:

“I will do it one day.”

“I want to go there someday.”

“I will write a book one day.”

Even though I can’t snap my fingers and be anywhere, and I can’t always find the time to write, my mindset has shifted. Travel and write today doesn’t mean you will do everything or be everywhere today, it just means that you’re working towards it today. If you want to write, you write, if you want to travel, you plan. Like my motto says: If you’re deciding on the right time to work towards your goals or change careers, the right time to take that next trip, the best time to write that book — the answer is today. Don’t wait. I know others have published water tower books, and anyone can go out there and see them standing beautifully in the distance against the sky, but the photographs you see won’t be my dad’s – and that’s why I’ve changed my way of thinking – don’t do it one day or someday. Do it today.